20 Biggest Flops in Liverpool History

Mark JonesFeatured ColumnistOctober 18, 2013

20 Biggest Flops in Liverpool History

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    Not every transfer works out perfectly.

    There are often a myriad reasons why footballers don't flourish in their new environment in the manner that everyone hopes and in some cases expects they will, and Liverpool are no exception to the "flop."

    Factors such as transfer fees, expectation levels and a failure to adapt to new surroundings can all be to blame, and when moves don't work out, it is often better for the player to move on as quickly as possible.

    Here, in no particular order, are 20 Liverpool players whose moves to Anfield didn't quite pan out in the manner they'd hoped:

     

Robbie Keane

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    Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

    Appearances: 28 Goals: 7

    Big things were expected of Irishman Robbie Keane when he arrived at Liverpool from Tottenham for a princely sum of £20m in the summer of 2008, but he ended up heading back to Spurs six months later.

    Try as he might, things just wouldn't work for Keane in Rafael Benitez's team, and although the forward had some moments to remember—such as his first goal for the club in a Champions League tie against PSV Eindhoven, a fine strike in a draw at Arsenal and braces at home to West Brom and Bolton—he always seemed destined for an early exit.

    He moved back to White Hart Lane, with the Reds accepting a £7m loss on him.

Christian Poulsen

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    Mark Thompson/Getty Images

    Appearances: 21 Goals: 0

    The sale of Javier Mascherano and the decision to replace him with Christian Poulsen pretty much summed up the decline in standards at Liverpool in the summer of 2010.

    The Danish midfielder had been a decent player at the likes of Schalke, Sevilla, Juventus and prior to that at Copenhagen, where then Reds boss Roy Hodgson had worked with him successfully.

    That was almost a decade prior to his Reds move, though, and lacking the pace or energy to make an impact in the Premier League, Poulsen struggled before eventually fading from view altogether a year after he signed.

Jimmy Carter

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    Appearances: 8 Goals: 0

    Kenny Dalglish signed exciting winger Jimmy Carter from Millwall in 1991, but the man with the famous name was unable to showcase the type of talents which had made him such a hit in southeast London.

    Thrown into the Liverpool team and given Dalglish's old No. 7 shirt, things were never going to be easy for the Londoner, who then saw the legendary Scot resign as boss to even further muddy the waters.

    Graeme Souness replaced Dalglish and seemingly wasn't a fan of Carter, who left for Arsenal just nine months after moving to Anfield.

Alberto Aquilani

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    Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    Appearances: 28 Goals: 2

    The Italian had big shoes to fill when he pitched up at Anfield in the summer of 2009, but he ultimately seemed to prefer spending time on crutches.

    Losing Xabi Alonso was a major blow to Benitez's Liverpool, and the manager made an error when he chose to replace the fans' favourite with Aquilani, who undoubtedly had talent but didn't quite have the fitness to back it up.

    Injuries frequently stalled his progress at Liverpool, and he was always unable to gain a run in the team.

    When Benitez left in 2010, the midfielder embarked on a couple of loan spells before joining Fiorentina last summer.

Mark Gonzalez

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    Michael Steele/Getty Images

    Appearances: 36 Goals: 3

    Work-permit issues meant that the South African-born Chilean international had to wait a year for his Liverpool debut, but Reds fans could be forgiven for wondering why their club had bothered signing him in the first place.

    A lively and direct left winger, Gonzalez scored a crucial goal on his debut in a Champions League qualifier against Maccabi Haifa in August 2006, but that was about as good as it got for a player who never really convinced onlookers that he was ready for the big time.

    After being an unused substitute in the 2007 Champions League final, he left for Real Betis that summer.

Istvan Kozma

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    Appearances: 10 Goals: 0

    The early '90s were a strange period for Liverpool, a fact perhaps emphasised by the presence of Kozma.

    A £300,000 signing from Scottish club Dunfermline, the Hungarian midfielder never truly convinced anyone that he belonged at Anfield, with his most impressive outing perhaps coming in a 4-4 League Cup draw at home against lower-league Chesterfield in September 1992.

    Chesterfield turned out to be about his level, though, and he was soon on the move back to Hungary.

Nuri Sahin

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    Clive Rose/Getty Images

    Appearances: 12 Goals: 3

    There was great excitement amongst Reds fans when Liverpool beat Arsenal to the signature of Turkish midfielder Nuri Sahin on loan last summer, but that excitement was short lived.

    Clearly a player of immense quality, Sahin was once voted the Bundesliga Player of the Year when at Borussia Dortmund but never showed that level at Anfield, where he moved following almost a year out injured in Madrid.

    He scored twice in a League Cup tie at West Brom and then in a 5-2 league victory at Norwich, but the Turk couldn't hold down a place in Brendan Rodgers' team, and his loan was cut short in January.

Andrea Dossena

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    Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    Appearances: 31 Goals: 2

    The Italian will always have two moments to remember at Liverpool, but most people would rather forget the rest.

    Dossena's only two Reds goals came in hammerings of Real Madrid and Manchester United that occurred in the same week, but for the rest of the time, he appeared to be confused over whether he was playing left back or on the left wing.

    You'd expect more from a £7m signing, and although Dossena was playing his part in a fine Liverpool team, his face never seemed to fit, and he left to join Napoli in January 2010.

Paul Konchesky

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    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    Appearances: 18 Goals: 0

    Roy Hodgson was supposed to be the "safe pair of hands" who had been brought in to "steady the ship" at Liverpool in 2010, but signings such as Konchesky only served to rock the boat.

    The left-back had arrived from Hodgson's old club Fulham, but the steady performances he put in there were never repeated at Anfield, where he frequently struggled.

    A lack of pace, positioning sense and seemingly any thoughts at all at times always dogged Konchesky, and when Hodgson was shipped out in January 2011, it wasn't long before he followed suit.

Charlie Adam

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    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    Appearances: 37 Goals: 2

    One of the most talked about players of the previous season despite his club Blackpool's relegation, Scottish international Adam pitched up at Anfield in the summer of 2011 with many describing him in the same breath as the likes of Jan Molby and Xabi Alonso.

    He never reached anywhere near those heights with Dalglish's Liverpool, as he struggled for form in a team which wasn't built around him in the manner that the Blackpool one had been.

    Adam was a regular in the team for the majority of the 2011/12 campaign until an injury struck, and although Brendan Rodgers opted to have a look at him during the following pre-season, it wasn't long before he was offloaded to Stoke.

Phil Babb

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    Appearances: 170 Goals: 1

    Once transferred for a record fee for a defender (£3.6m), Irish international Phil Babb is somewhat unfortunate to be on this list given that he played for the Reds for six years, but they were years which happened to coincide with a lean period for the club.

    Babb's often erratic displays in the centre of defence didn't help those efforts, and his presence was hardly one that Liverpool's supporters could rely on as the club unsuccessfully chased glory both at home and abroad.

    That never arrived though, and after Gerard Houllier took over from Roy Evans on a solo basis, the defender's days were numbered.

Andy Carroll

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    Michael Regan/Getty Images

    Appearances: 58 Goals: 11

    Andy Carroll always appeared to be on a hiding to nothing the moment that Liverpool addressed that £35m cheque to Newcastle owner Mike Ashley in January 2011.

    It is still an eye-watering amount of money to comprehend, and although Carroll had his moments in a red shirt—such as single-handedly destroying Manchester City in a 3-0 win and scoring the late winner in an FA Cup semi-final against Everton (before netting in the final loss to Chelsea)—he forever appeared to come up short of expectations.

    Fitness problems didn't help matters, but Carroll's form frequently suffered lapses, and there always appeared to be no way back for him once Brendan Rodgers joined the club in 2012.

    The Geordie now sits on West Ham's treatment table, forever remembered as a curious piece of Liverpool history. 

Bernard Diomede

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    Phil Cole/Getty Images

    Appearances: 5 Goals: 0

    Bernard Diomede has a World Cup winners' medal. Go on, repeat that sentence again slowly.

    Things could have been oh so different for the French winger at Liverpool had his overhead kick attempt on his Anfield debut against Sunderland in 2000 been allowed to stand (it crossed the line, but this was the pre-goal-line technology era).

    It didn't stand, though, and he barely played again.

Andriy Voronin

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    MN Chan/Getty Images

    Appearances: 40 Goals: 6

    Of all the elements that attracted Rafael Benitez to a move for Andriy Voronin in 2007, the fact that he was free was surely the main one.

    The pony-tailed Ukrainian joined from Bayer Leverkusen and initially looked a fairly decent backup to and support for Fernando Torres, scoring goals against Toulouse, Sunderland, Derby and Tottenham, but the pace of the English game soon caught up with him.

    Often slow and clumsy, he struggled to maintain a regular place in the side and was loaned to Hertha Berlin for 2008/09, before surprisingly coming back to play 12 more games for Liverpool prior to leaving for good in January 2010.

    There were few tears.

     

     

El-Hadji Diouf

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    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    Appearances: 80 Goals: 6

    A strong contender for Liverpool's most disappointing signing ever, El-Hadji Diouf arrived at Liverpool in a blaze of publicity following his starring displays for Senegal at the 2002 World Cup.

    He scored twice on his Anfield league debut against Southampton, but an array of frustrating and disappointing performances were to follow, as the man signed as a £10m forward was stationed on the right of midfield and frequently failed to influence games.

    Controversial incidents such as his him spitting at a Celtic fan in a UEFA Cup tie didn't help either, and Diouf became the first Liverpool No. 9 to fail to score a goal in an entire season in 2003/04.

    He left for Bolton that summer, with many bidding good riddance.

     

Sean Dundee

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    Appearances: 5 Goals: 0

    Always a contender on those infamous "worst ever Liverpool players" lists, Sean Dundee did nonetheless arrive at Anfield with a great reputation after goalscoring stints in German football.

    "Crocodile" wasn't too snappy at Liverpool, though, as his infamous boast of being "faster than Michael Owen" failed to come to fruition.

     

Paul Stewart

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    Appearances: 42 Goals: 3

    Running Dundee close on those lists is usually Paul Stewart, who arrived from Tottenham for £2.5m in 1992 but never truly seemed at home at Liverpool.

    A Souness signing, Stewart could play in midfield or attack but rarely did either successfully, eventually embarking on four loan spells away from the Reds as the likes of Robbie Fowler emerged from the youth ranks to take his place in the team.

    He left for Sunderland in 1996 having failed to create much of an impression.

Joe Cole

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    Michael Steele/Getty Images

    Appearances: 42 Goals: 5

    The warning signs were there right from the start for Cole, who was sent off on his Reds debut on the opening day of the 2010/11 season against Arsenal.

    A free transfer but on huge wages, injuries and fluctuating form played a part in Cole's poor debut campaign at Liverpool, and after the departure of Roy Hodgson as manager, Kenny Dalglish decided to ship him out to Lille on loan for a season.

    He returned to play for Brendan Rodgers in 2012/13, partly due to a lack of options elsewhere, and after a few cameos and a couple of goals, he moved back to first club West Ham in January.

    It hadn't been a successful union.

Milan Jovanovic

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    Pete Norton/Getty Images

    Appearances: 18 Goals: 2

    Serbian Milan Jovanovic was seen as a parting gift from Benitez to Hodgson in 2010. The Englishman would probably have preferred anyone else.

    Another free transfer signing who arrived on large wages, Jovanovic had a decent reputation on the continent but was never able to realise that in England.

    Playing on the left of the Reds' attack, he made a minimal impact in 18 games before being moved on to Anderlecht in the summer of 2011.

Torben Piechnik

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    Appearances: 24 Goals: 0

    This was a period of Liverpool's history in which sub-standard players were not surprisingly proving to be inadequate replacements for those who went before.

    Danish defender Piechnik was one of those replacements, and although he was part of his nation's squad which so spectacularly won the Euro 92 tournament, he never looked at home in the Premier League after Souness brought him to Anfield.

    After an inauspicious 24 matches, he was released by replacement boss Roy Evans, with his last appearance seeing him hauled off at half-time in a 3-0 loss at Newcastle.

    It was somewhat apt.